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'New and different' | Dolly Parton jumps on blockchain bandwagon at SXSW 2022

Parton announced that her new novel, "Run, Rose, Run," with James Patterson will soon be made into a movie starring herself and Reese Witherspoon.

AUSTIN, Texas — Blockchain, NFTs and virtual reality – those seemed to be the buzzwords at South by Southwest (SXSW) 2022, and even America's sweetheart Dolly Parton is jumping on the bandwagon.

The country superstar was in Austin Friday night at the Moody Theater for a special performance and event promoting her new novel "Run, Rose, Run," co-written with best-selling author James Patterson. It's even coming with its own companion music album under the same name.

But what made the event special was its connection to blockchain technology.

Parton and her team partnered with FOX Entertainment's NFT studio, Blockchain Creative Labs, to stream her first-ever SXSW performance on the blockchain by launching the "Dollyverse," an audience-centric Web3 experience. The Dollyverse will offer an exclusive selection of official and certified Dolly NFT collectibles, including limited-edition NFTs of the new album and other NFT artworks that are available for purchase before and after the festival.

“There’s almost nothing more important to me than connecting with my fans. And I’m almost always up for trying something new and different,” said Parton in a press release prior to the event. “I'd say releasing NFTs at my first-ever appearance at SXSW, with James Patterson by my side, definitely counts as new and different!”

RELATED: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Dolly Parton will remain potential 2022 inductee after announcing she decided to 'bow out'

In addition to the performance, Parton and Patterson hosted a discussion about their novel moderated by actress Connie Britton. Plus, the entire event was streamed live on the Dollyverse.

During their discussion, the trio made a lot of revelations about the book, including how it all come to fruition.

"First of all, I got a call that James Patterson wanted to write a book with me," said Parton. "I thought … why? You know, he’s sold 400 million books, I don’t believe he needs me in any way, but I’m just curious and I love his books and I’ve always been a big fan, and I thought, 'Out of respect I’ll hear him on out,' and he came down to Nashville and we just hit it off right away."

"We liked each other, we have similar backgrounds," said Patterson, explaining how both of their humble beginnings inspired the idea of the novel's main character, AnnieLee. "We made the deal right there in the office, no lawyers, no agents, no nothing. We just did it."

"Sometimes they can really screw up some really good work if you let 'em," added Parton. "But now that we got the book out, they’re involved now, right?"

Patterson then made sure to point out that two days after he made it back home, Parton had already sent him the lyrics to seven songs for the companion album, some of which she performed after their session, in addition to her hits like "Jolene" and "9 to 5."

Another exciting revelation during their discussion was that "Run, Rose, Run" will soon be made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon and Parton herself.

"There’s a character in the book that’s named Ruthanna … she was the one that’s a big star ... and she’s kind of retired from the business but still writes her songs, and she still has her recording studio and her band. She kind of mentors the young girl and … do you think that that kind of resembles anyone you know?" she asked as the crowd erupted in cheers. "So, I kind of wrote myself in a part for the movie!"

The thriller novel was released on March 7. Set in Nashville, it tells the story of a young woman with a dark past who comes to the country music capital to pursue her dreams of making music. 

"The source of her heart-wrenching songs is a brutal secret she has tried desperately to hide, but the past she has fled is reaching out to control her future – even if it means destroying everything she has worked for," the press release states.

Meanwhile, the new album was released on March 4 under her label, Butterfly Records.

“God has been good to me," Parton said before closing the session and opening her concert. "He’s surrounded me with great people and I get a lot of credit for a lot of hard work that other people do, but I’m always glad taking part in something good … and I keep trying to do that. So I’ll keep a doing it if I can."

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